Wellesley public school students go back to class on Wellesley on Wednesday, Aug. 31.
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The biggest change this year—Hunnewell Elementary School will not open its doors. It can’t. The school, built in 1938, was razed over the summer to make way for a new 76,500 sq. ft. 18-classroom school slated to open in February 2024. While construction is underway, staff and students have been divvied up among four of Wellesley’s five currently open elementary schools—Bates, Hardy, Sprague, and Upham—under a swing space plan. More on the school construction plans.
District-wide, the school is returning to pre-pandemic operations meaning that, with the exception of all nursing offices, all school buildings and grounds will be mask-optional environments. In addition, the schools will no longer be supporting weekly, school-based viral testing. The remaining stock of rapid tests will be made available to students and staff on demand until supplies either run out or expire.
Other school updates
In a back-to-school message, Superintendent David Lussier reminded families that work on the new Hardy school will begin this winter behind the existing school, which will remain operational throughout the project. “The new Hardy school is slated to open in August of 2024, approximately six months after the opening of the new Hunnewell school. I know I speak for the many people who supported the development and approval process of these projects when I say that it is incredibly gratifying to see these next-generation school projects underway,” Lussier said in his message.
In addition, a significant paving project was completed at the Middle School over the summer, one of many projects at WMS over the years that have included replacement of many windows, work on critical infrastructure such as piping, doors and cabinetry and a full kitchen renovation. After all those upgrades, it seems safe to say that WMS will remain standing and in service for many years to come.
As for the high school area, the Wellesley Natural Resources commission in July voted 3-2 in favor of the School Committee’s proposal to allow lights to be installed at the Hunnewell Track & Field. The next steps will include private fundraising of about $1 million for the lights, team rooms, and sound system, as well as additional town meetings and approvals before the lights can be installed. Wetlands, the Select Board, Design Review Board, and Zoning Board of Appeals all must sign off on the project before it can move forward. More information here.
Massachusetts has extended universal free school meals through the 2022-2023 school year. This means that breakfast at the Middle and High Schools, and lunch at all schools will continue to be served at no cost to all students. Families will continue to be financially responsible for second meals, a la carte offerings, and beverages.
Even though meals are free for all, families must complete the household Application for Free and Reduced Price Meals for the 2022-23 school year to ensure district eligibility for various programs.
First day off: Monday, Sept. 5, in observance of Labor Day.
For more important dates on school schedule, see the 2022-23 academic calendar.
Colleges and private schools start-up dates
As for other educational institutions in town Babson College has the distinction of starting the earliest. Undergraduates at the four-year private business school head to class on Monday, Aug. 29.
St. John School, the private Catholic school that educates students up to grade 6, starts classes on Tuesday, Aug. 30.
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